Reverse homeless experiment in San Luis Obispo

February 20, 2015

Rich Ferguson conducted a social experiment in giving and human behavior in downtown San Luis Obispo. Interestingly, it seemed that those who had the least to give were the ones that gave, while the general public ignored the man’s attempts to communicate.

At the end of the day, the cash at hand was within 50 cents of what he started with.

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Perhaps there are those of us who are hard working and donate money regularly to a charitable organization, and/or volunteer hours to one. There are many reasons people walk by pan handlers on the street. I’ve woken up every morning for over 30 years to go to work, I refuse to be made to feel guilty because I won’t look a homeless person in the eye and I just walk by. I won’t even attempt to decipher why a person is homeless, there are countless reasons. I’m not heartless, I just don’t have enough to regularly contribute as well as give hand outs on the street. At least by contributing I know, (I think I know), it’s going for good. That is the case of course unless you have people like Dee Torres…lol. I have offered to buy people food so that I know they are not using it for drugs, some scoff at me, they want money, oh well.

I work downtown a lot, and have learned just to ignore the homeless, (sad, I know, but there are just too many of them.). What I have noticed though is that most of them don’t want the kind of life that most of us lead. A good example is the lady that sits on Suburban Rd next to Foods 4 Less. She has her dog, her Ipad, her cell phone, her cigarettes, etc. and seems very happy.

OMG….You think she is ‘happy’? She deals with it, but ‘happy’? Do you see her 24/24? She is complacent. Her dog, probably a service animal. Do you know what that means? A disability. Can she get an apartment with a dog, (legally yes but unlikely). Does she have a disorder that you are not aware of? Is she a victim of DV? I challenge anyone to offer her a rental, tell her where she can find an apartment ?

The girl copes, deals, and is upbeat. But is she happy? Would you be happy sitting out front of Food For Less, without a home, for all to see?

Have you actually worked with homeless people? Almost all fall into one or more of three categories- nonfunctional drug addict, severe mental problems, homeless by choice. Sorry, that’s the reality, at least here in CA. Yes, some hard-working, non addicts get run over by the bus now and then, I saw that especially in 2009-2010, but those people do not stay homeless for very long, they work their way out of it.

As for offering free board to homeless, yes, I’ve done it. Guess what? I was refused, though the two people I’ve offered it to did shower and get a meal at my place, and worked on various odd jobs I had for them. Both were able to get decent jobs, and are no longer homeless.

Those people that sit for hand-outs? Your blind charity isn’t helping them. Offer them cash to mow your lawn or paint your fence, see what happens. Only RARELY will you find a taker on work. Homeless people that want to change their situation end up somewhere like Sunny Acres, not under a bridge, sleeping at noon. When you “help” people that won’t help themselves, you perpetuate their helplessness!

I was just wondering if Rich had done this experiment dressed like a well dressed businessman, if he would have gotten more “takers”. Just a thought. Most people don’t stop to make eye contact OR read their signs.:(

I tip 20% almost automatically at restaurants. I pay my taxes. I (we) saved our money, never had Cable TV, paid our daughters college education with no loans, and generally do without if we can’t afford it. We went up to San Francisco (stayed at the Hilton next to Union Square) over Christmas. We used to like going there many years ago. No more. The homeless situation has gotten completely out of hand. You walk out of the hotel and there is trash, human feces, etc. right outside the hotel. It didn’t help there was a food kitchen a 1/2 block away. In the morning I would walk a half block to get a Starbucks coffee and inevitably get hit up for money for food at Starbucks by someone who hasn’t bathed in quite a while. Now why couldn’t that person go to the food kitchen? She wants a high priced bagel at Starbucks! And she didn’t appear to be starving. San Francisco has a lot to offer, but we are done with it. SLO should take heed, but they won’t.